Making generalizations seems to be a habit in most humans. People say “Oh, what an awful day”, or “My life is so difficult” even though days and life are made up of of a combination of ups and downs- small moments that are ruled primarily by our state of consciousness. The way we phrase things has a lot of power over our minds. If we say we’re having a bad day, our day is ruined, or that life is terrible, we need to think about the magnitude of those statements. Do we really mean the WHOLE day, and ALL of life? Words make experiences even more real for our individual psyche, regardless of what’s really happening from moment to moment. So, we try to impress upon our kids that there is no such thing as a “bad day”, just negative or uncomfortable moments. The whole day is full of possibilities, and who knows? In any given moment things can become brighter and more hopeful. They usually do.
We had a wonderful Halloween* night walking all over our new neighborhood. I pushed Amelie in her stroller, and it went a lot like my own childhood Halloweens during the 70’s. Many homes had their porch lights on and neighborhood kids and parents walked together. I met two other families and walked with them. It was a great experience, and very different from what I was used to over the years… it was like going back in time. I was particularly proud of Prasad for having helped a little 4 year old girl keep up with the crowd of kids.. he kept instructing everyone to slow down so she could keep up, and he held her hand while speaking comforting words to her. The parents all commented on how sweet he was, and I enjoyed seeing his compassionate, service oriented side coming out. On top of that, as usual, he was so entertaining to all of us. Lots of laughs last night just watching him! The kids came home with pillow cases full of candy. When we poured it out, we had a mountain on the dining table to sort through. Sky and Prasad were so happy, and it was a magical evening.
Sky awoke this morning feeling jolly and ready for school. He came downstairs and talked about how great Halloween was, and how happy he was to walk with the neighbor kids. Then he attempted to put on every single silly band in his possession, including the ones for fingers. I asked him if he planned to wear all of them to school, and he said “Definitely, Mom!” I stared at them, my lip curling. He had about 70 or more on his wrist, and all the fingers were covered with bands, not to mention the three plastic skull and spider rings he got while trick-or-treating last night. He looked completely and totally ridiculous, and I just couldn’t imagine how a kid could focus with all those distractions on. I quietly told Sky that he needs to pick out a few to wear to school, and leave the rest at home. When he started arguing with me, I had to become firm with him, and explained how distracting and ridiculous it looked for a classroom setting. I’ve heard some schools have banned them, and now I can see why. They seem harmless at first, and they are. It’s when kids become obsessed, and get the “more is better so hoard them” disease that I have to draw a line.
Sky was not at all happy. He’s been asserting more anger and upset when he doesn’t get his way these days, or when he doesn’t get something immediately. Did I mention he also has the “I want what I want when I want it” disease? He wants things NOW, not later, and if he has to wait, he demands something else to hold him over. We dealt with a lot of those symptoms over the weekend. This morning, out of anger, he blurted out “My life sucks! I hate this.” I decided to let a great deal of silence pass after that comment, and then I walked up to him and said “Last night you were so happy while trick-or-treating, you enjoyed getting up this morning and even smiled at me. Life must not be so bad, Sky.” He stated again that it completely sucks. Not my favorite phrase, and he knows that. I calmly told him he’s surrounded by beauty at his new home, he has a loving family, food on the table (his breakfast), pets he loves, and a lot of great friends. I explained that it’s not “life” that stinks, but maybe a moment or two, here and there, that’s all. I told him to be very careful with his words, because words become our inner reality. He became silent, and withdrew from the conversation.
About five minutes later he walked up to me and said in a very soft voice “I’m sorry Mama. Life doesn’t suck at all. I was just mad that you didn’t let me have something. My life is really great.” He seemed sincere in his apology, so when it came time for me to give him his vitamins, I handed him a small “sunglasses” silly band for his finger. He smiled and looked into my eyes, and it felt like he understood something more deeply. I mean, in just an single instant an unhappy moment/state of mind flipped into a beautiful one. This is something I’m hoping all my kids can grow to understand: there are no bad days or bad lives, just negative beliefs or negative states of mind, and they always pass.
*We’ll be posting Halloween pics soon.